Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Springfield, ILL and Amish country

On the way to Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, we were looking for a rest stop and saw a sign for a tourist information center. So we pulled off. Five miles later we were in the small town of Pittsfield. But it turns out this town was visited by then circuit judge Abraham Lincoln on a regular basis. This was before he became president, but yet it was here on these steps that he addressed the local people, who eventually supported him into the presidency.

The county courthouse for Pike County, Pittsfield, IL.

Abraham Lincoln lived for 27 years in this house in downtown Springfield, IL. He was not born in Springfield, nor was he raised here, but he came here at age 19 to start his law practice. He
continued to live here until his death, except for the time he resided in the White House, Washington, D.C.

A three holer, made from half-barrels, comprised the Lincoln's outhouse.

The Lincoln Presidential Library is actually a museum. Inside are 2 theaters with movies of his life, then 3 different exhibits for different periods of his life. Here is his growing up years.

This exhibit is about his years in the White House.

Lincoln's Tomb.

He is buried behind this marble and under 10 feet of concrete.

This was the house built for the caretaker of Lincoln's Tomb. It has not been used as a caretaker home for numerous years.

We were going to spend the night in the Walmart parking lot, until we discovered it was not allowed. So another 2 hours driving and we arrived in Arthur, IL, at our friend's farm.

On Saturday we all attended a bluegrass concert at Rockome, IL. Rockome is a park built around rock gardens and statues. It began prior to WWII, but has since passed through numerous owners. Lately purchased in 2008 and now being restored and rebuilt, it has an Amish Interpretive Center, an Amish Restaurant, several gift and craft shops, an Amish Furniture Store, and a cheese factory. You can take a ride in an authentic Amish buggy, or arrange for a personal tour and meal in an Amish home. They sponser different events throughout the year.

80-90% of the rock in the formations came from the property.

The Templeton Family Singers consist of 8 children and their parents. Only the youngest 2 children are not yet involved. Even the 6 year old plays the mandolin and sings.

They have what is called 'the cave', which is really a type of fun house. At the end were some fun mirrors.

The Pendleton Family. They perform in Branson, MO. I would go see them if I ever get to Branson again.

This family has 4 kids and the parents. This young girl is 9 and plays the fiddle.

There are faces built into the stone walls.

The final band was a country band claiming to play the 'old time classic country hits'.

But the final act of the day were the cloggers. They put on a great show. Several of these women were older than me and I got tired just watching them. They clogged for over 45 minutes.

Barb's farm is in the heart of Amish country. The 3rd or 4th largest Amish community in the U.S., there are over 4500 Amish residents in a 75 sq mi area. There are also a large number of Mennonites too. But I was impressed at how well everthing works. You see buggy's pulled into a yard with cars, where everyone, Amish and non-Amish have come together for some event. You see buggies parked outside shops and restaurants around town.

Arcola, IL, is the home of the one and only Hippie Memorial.

A common sight in this area.

There are hundreds of farms like this dotting the landscape.

Because farm land is becoming more scarce, many of the Amish are opening businesses. The tourist trade is a booming business for the Amish.

A four horse team pulling a plow.

This group of Amish allow bicycle riding and some even drive cars.

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